Counting What Counts has been working with the cultural sector for over 10 years. As we have supported cultural organisations to measure and evaluate their impact, we have seen the use of the terms ‘place’, and ‘placemaking’ become widespread across the sector.

At its simplest, this is because many cultural organisations are firmly rooted in the communities they serve, actively seeking to respond to the needs and aspirations of those communities and places.

We are therefore pleased to be working with the new cohort of Creative People and Places (CPP) projects, as part of the Impact & Insight Toolkit. In addition to supporting ACE develop mandatory evaluation guidance for CPP projects, we have been exploring how some of the central ambitions of the CPP programme (e.g. empowering communities to take the lead in shaping local cultural provision; the power of arts and culture to make positive changes in communities) can best be evaluated through the Toolkit.

This has led us to make a few additions to the Toolkit, making it easier for any ACE funded organisation to effectively evaluate work that is rooted in place. We have made available some dimension questions in the Toolkit that previously had only been available to non-ACE funded users. These outcome measures have been co-produced and road-tested by our global clients, as opposed to Toolkit users. However, we have recently consulted with some of the CPPs about which of them seem the most useful in capturing the impact of their work; we are delighted to now share these with you.

Primary themes incorporated into the newly released Toolkit dimensions include:

  • Community cohesion
  • Future intentions for community focused experiences
  • Fostering feelings in association with a place

This set of dimensions is available now in your Toolkit account. You can add any of the available dimensions on the Design page of the survey builder; please see the screenshot below:

Screenshot of Placemaking dimension category on Culture Counts

Whilst exploring the new dimensions available in the Placemaking category, you might want to take a look at the Frequently Used Custom category, where you will notice further dimensions available. These dimensions are ones which we feel can also make a positive contribution to your evaluation of place, including Vibe of Place, Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing.

As you plan your upcoming evaluations, we would encourage you to read the different public facing reports (in particular, take a look at pp. 16-17) available which demonstrate how some of these dimensions have been used to demonstrate the impact of place-based works on their communities, both local and extended.

As always, we would be happy to discuss your unique position within the sector and how best you could combine the core dimensions with the newly-available dimensions on place in order to obtain the most useful and valuable insight – just get in touch!

Thank you to those who consulted on this area of work.

Featured Image: Photo by Michael Emono on Unsplash